The Rise of Gatekeepers
Not all of the new trends in the tech industry are positive. As we have moved to online recruiting systems, those with non-linear careers have struggled to “fit the bill” as defined by the algorithms created by mostly male engineers. Programs like Monster.com and Indeed.com are great if you have a conventional resume, but not so great if you have danced in and out of jobs either because you paused for caregiving or because you became a freelancer.228 And most companies today require you to fill out an online application, which again can result in an immediate rejection if you don’t fit the narrow and outmoded concept of the traditional career path.
Beyond the technological gatekeepers, there are the recruiters and hiring managers themselves. Their own conscious or unconscious bias can keep nontraditional candidates from finding and landing a job.
Consider Lisa Tankersley. When she decided to pause her career, she never imagined she’d get divorced and end up struggling to find work. In 2000, she was pregnant with her second child and suffering from severe morning sickness, the kind that plagued Kate Middleton during her pregnancies. Lisa was working at a start-up in Silicon Valley. It was the beginning of the end of the Dot Com era.229 Her commute was hell and the hours were punishing. When Lisa and her husband met with their accountant, he’d run the numbers and told Lisa, “You’re barely making enough to cover your child care and expenses. You’d be better off staying home than working as hard as you are.”
La Works Net Career Solutions Photo Gallery
When her company announced layoffs, for Lisa it was the final straw. She quit working and stayed home with her children while her husband, an engineer, focused on his career. It was a good strategy until it wasn’t. Lisa and her husband divorced, and suddenly Lisa found herself in need of a fulltime job. She couldn’t find one.
She applied online via Facebook’s contract portal for a position in the spam-filtering group. It was a data-entry job, something she had done at the very start of her career. As she was currently working part-time from home doing something similar for another company, meaning her skills were up to date and she had directly relevant experience, Lisa thought she was more than qualified.
So did an outside recruiter who was handling screening for Facebook. Lisa had a series of successful phone interviews and was invited to the company’s headquarters to meet with the team. She had a few one-on-one interviews and a group interview as well. All of them seemed to go swimmingly.
“You know that feeling when people are smiling and nodding and you know you are in sync?” Lisa asked. “That’s how my interviews went. That is, until the last one of the day and then it was like hitting a brick wall.”
She met with a young man who was a leader on the team. His tone was negative. He swore a lot, complaining about the job and the “crap” they had to deal with in the spam arena. Rather than really get to know her, he spent the entire interview staring at her resume, barely making eye contact, seeming to struggle to find something to ask her. He finally asked her how she went above and beyond “in the workplace,” but Lisa didn’t have a workplace to talk about.